For 15 years, Joey Votto was known as one of the more quiet and boring stars in Major League Baseball. And apparently, we were all missing out.
Since having a mic placed in front of him, Votto has proved to be one of the more entertaining personalities in baseball with an imminent career as a broadcaster if he chooses to pursue it. His mic’d up performance on ESPN earlier this season was the highlight of the network’s Opening Day coverage. And since undergoing season-ending surgery to repair a torn rotator cuff in August, the 38-year-old Votto has frequented the Cincinnati Reds TV booth to explore his interest in broadcasting.
Tuesday night, Votto was in the Bally Sports Ohio booth for their 3-2 win over the Chicago Cubs. There, he expressed frustration over the Reds’ long-running promotion with Toyota. Every season since 2008, a new Toyota Tundra has been placed inside Cincinnati’s Great American Ball Park. Every home game, one fan is selected as the potential recipient of the truck. If a Reds player manages to hit the Toyota sign or the Tundra itself beyond the home run fence, the fan wins the vehicle.
Joey Votto: the gift that keeps on giving pic.twitter.com/fLtzf932N5
— Cincinnati Reds (@Reds) October 5, 2022
“I feel like nobody wins the Toyota Tundra,” Votto bemoaned to play-by-play voice John Sadak. “Let’s do something this inning. If anybody homers on the right side of center field, I’ll buy the truck for the fan…someone’s gotta win the truck! I’m sick of this! No one’s won the truck ever since I’ve been in this uniform.”
With 99 losses on the season, there isn’t too much to be excited about when watching a Reds game, but Votto’s offer added some unexpected juice to the broadcast. Votto intelligently made the declaration with 27-year-old rookie Chuckie Robinson at the plate, boasting a batting average of .105.
Almost on cue, Robinson displayed surprising opposite field power by smacking the pitch deep down the line. Unfortunately, it landed foul by about 10 feet, saving his teammate from having to buy the Toyota Tundra and erasing what would have been an amazing moment in the booth for the audience. The very next inning, Robinson stepped to the plate again and this time he hit an opposite field homer, but Votto’s deal expired at the end of the sixth.
Since the promotion launched in 2008, two fans have won the Tundra. In 2015, a Jay Bruce home run earned a fan the truck. And in 2018, a fan won the truck after Toyota deemed Jesse Winker’s home run three inches away from the sign to be close enough.